Tomorrow I’m hosting a webinar about boundaries and communication, which will be AWESOME!
However, whenever I talk about ways to improve your marriage/long term partnership, I feel obligated to point out that abuse is a different ballgame entirely. Abuse, especially verbal and emotional abuse, is very subtle. It’s very easy to believe that you simply need to improve your communication skills, or your emotional skills. In other words, it’s very easy to believe the lie that your abuser is feeding you: that you are to blame for the disharmony in your marriage. But you are NOT.
When your partner constantly makes jokes at your expense, even after you’ve asked him not to, he’s not just a forgetful jokester. He is a man who gets pleasure from hurting you emotionally.
When your partner calls you a bitch, he is not just frustrated. He is a man who uses contempt and name calling to avoid dealing with the real issues at hand.
When your partner handles ALL the money, and occasionally hides or lies about financial issues, he is not a control freak who just wants to protect you. He wants to control you via money.
When your partner with PTSD or anxiety or other mental illness uses violence of any kind against you, he is not “doing their best” to deal with it. He is failing to deal with mental illness and needs to adjust current treatment before regaining the privilege of access to you.
When your partner injures you physically, he is not a kind man who made a mistake. He is a man who is willing to use violence to win a dispute.
When your partner abuses a dependent child, your responsibility is not to do a better job of managing the interactions between the child and your partner. Your responsibility is to call the police and get the child away from the partner.
We all want to believe that our relationship is different: that our partner will not really “go so far.”
We all want to believe that our family will survive domestic violence because we have some secret ingredient (love, remorse, God, Jesus, Buddha, GMO-free diet, forgiveness). We want to believe our abuser when he apologizes and swears eternal love and devotion. But when your partner abuses you, he is sending you a very clear message.
This relationship is about me having power over you.
If your relationship shows any signs of abuse, leave. Abusers can change. But they can only do so if they have to deal with the consequences of their choices.
Check out the Power and Control Wheel for more insight into your relationship.
If you believe your relationship may be abusive, please call the national domestic violence hotline: 1−800−799−7233